In what was supposed to be an easy win against the hapless 0-2 Miami Dolphins, your New England Patriots got schooled in so many ways. Playing at home in front of a sell out crowd (I was there), the Pats never got the grill lit. That stupid butane clicker ran out before we could get the party started and by the time uncle Jim made it to the store to grab a new one, it was over. The 'Fins started to rack up points faster than a pool hustler saying, "Man, that never goes in!"
The day started off good. My buddy picked me up and we made the trek down to Foxborough. After a little traffic, we staked out our spot and started the grill. Some cooked meat, a few adult beverages and we made the 30 minute walk into Gillette Stadium. This is a BEAUTIFUL place, by the way. And it's all designed to extract money from your wallet, but what else is new? Hollister and Victoria's Secret threw me. I mean, does anyone remember seeing stuff like that at Sullivan Stadium? I just remember Joey the drunk and Vinny the grizzled sausage vendor with stains on his beater. Anyway...
A few stats for ya'll after the jump.
- Total Offensive Yards: Dolphins - 461, Pats - 216
- Total Rushing Yards: Dolphins - 216, Pats - 79
- Total Passing Yards: Dolphins - 245, Pats - 137
- Third Down Efficiency: Dolphins - 44% (4/9), Pats - 26% (4/15)
A beatdown, no question about it. An out-and-out beatdown. How did they do it? The defense was simply out played and out coached:
They ran some unbalanced formations that it didn't seem that we had any answers for," Patriots defensive end Richard Seymour said. "We would slide over [to match the strength of the formation] and sometimes we stayed. We were running around like chickens with our heads cut off. We really didn't know what to do.
The did this by using some very creative offensive line formations:
Part of that look included moving left tackle Jake Long to the right side, creating an unbalanced line that looked like this:
Tight end/left guard/center/right guard/right tackle/right tackle.
The Dolphins used, what Ricky Williams is now referring to as The Wildcat, with great success. Running back Ronnie Brown lined up behind the center while quarterback Chad Pennington lined up as a wideout. The 'Fins used this with great success, with touchdown runs of 2, 5, and 62 yards as well as a Ronnie Brown TD pass of 19 yards.
The same play with multiple outcomes, switching up the offensive line to throw the starters off-balance...sounds like a team we used to know. You know, when they had to be crafty to win? Ugghh...
When they weren't running the Wildcat, Pennington was simply chewing up the defense with pass after pass, getting them off quickly and efficiently. At 18 of 21, Pennington was passing where he wanted while Cassel went 22 for 35, hitting Welker and Gaffney for short yardage, but not consistently. Matt was also having trouble putting the ball where Moss could catch it.
The running game was anemic with only 79 yards from all running backs. There's simply not much more you can say about it.
This has been said time and time again: the defense can't make any mistakes; they no longer have the cushion Brady was able to provide. If they can't adjust to different looks and schemes, it's gonna be a long season.